Rollout Roundup: Alcohol Beverages

Latest news from the adult beverage segment

Spring has supposedly sprung, and with it a bounty of new products from the alcohol beverage sector. Companies are focusing releases on summertime flavors, packaging innovations and new opportunities in developing subcategories. Following is a roundup of the latest launches, transformations and ad campaigns. 

Anheuser-Busch InBev is chasing the strong growth of the cider market with a European-style cider under the Stella Artois brand. Stella Artois Cidre will be fermented in Baldwinsville, N.Y., using apples picked from wine-growing regions in North and South America. At 4.5% alcohol by volume, Stella Artois Cidre is available in two packaging configurations: four-packs of 12-ounce bottles and single, 24-ounce bottles. The company’s previous forays into cider include Michelob Ultra Light Cider.

Speaking of ciders, Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co. rolled out two varieties under the Mike’s Hard Smashed Apple Cider line. Crisp Apple is a juicy, tart beverage similar to what most Americans expect from a cider. Classic Dry is a more traditional cider with European characteristics that are now making their way stateside.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade also recently rolled out a shandy, featuring Mike’s Hard Lemonade blended with a crisp golden lager. It also entered the growing frozen pouch subcategory with four 10-ounce frozen pouches: Lemonade, Black Cherry Lemonade, Classic Margarita and Strawberry Lemonade.

Also for the summer months, Heineken USA has rolled out Newcastle Bombshell Blonde Ale, available through July. Newcastle Bombshell is an English-style blonde ale with a floral hop aroma, a balanced and bittersweet flavor with toasted biscuit notes and a smooth, clean finish with hints of caramel sweetness. It is available in 6-bottle and 12-bottle packs, priced comparably to Newcastle Brown Ale. The label features an eye-catching, swimsuit-clad blonde intended to “sell more beer” as part of the company’s No Bollocks 2013 marketing campaign—a cheeky promise for“honesty and transparency in the beer category.”

While Budweiser has launched its bowtie-shaped beer can, a number of other brands have rolled out unique packaging as well. The Boston Beer Co. is now offering Samuel Adams in special cans meant to enhance the drinking experience. An “hourglass ridge” where the bottom lip meets the edge is deeper and more rounded than usual to create better flow of the beer to the front of the palate, maximizing the sweetness. The can’s opening is placed further away from the edge for better airflow—allowing the drinker to better experience the beer’s aroma.

Miller Lite is also getting a facelift with a new bottle design that will launch in bars and restaurants this summer. The makeover includes a contoured grip for easier handling and broadened “shoulders” just below the neck.

On the marketing front, Negra Modelo is launching its first-ever television advertising campaign, set to run with chef Rick Bayless’ Emmy-nominated PBS show “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” Two new spots, "Judged" and "Meals," highlight Negra Modelo's ability to pair well with a variety of meal options, particularly the Latin flavors explored by the television show.

Tecate, for its part, began a new ad campaign that targets men in the United States who predominately speak Spanish. Titled “Es Facil Ser Hombre” (“It's Easy Being a Man”), the campaign is comprised of three new TV spots featuring light-hearted, real-life situations that are relatable to men, showcasing how they use their ingenuity, wit and humor to resolve these without losing their “caracter.”

Tecate parent company Heineken USA is also expanding distribution of its Beers of Mexico variety packs in 12-pack bottles or cans. Beers of Mexico variety packs contain equal quantities of Dos Equis Lager, Tecate and Sol brands. With Beers of Mexico, the company aims to capitalize on the summertime social gathering. Display and POS materials are available, along with channel-specific cross merchandising.